Holidays are always a busy time at Cortland Acres and this past 4th of July was no exception. Forty-four Energy Express students and their counselors brightened the day for Cortland residents on July 3, 2019. The students came prepared with hand-made 4th of July cards and their favorite book to read to residents.
“Whenever we have a holiday, residents are excited to visit with family and friends,” explains Cortland Administrator Beth Clevenger. “This year we kicked off Mountaineer Days with a lovely visit with the children and staff from Energy Express. Their hand-made cards were a huge hit and their reading skills were quite impressive. We’ve cultivated the idea of multi-generational programs for some time now and our family-friendly approach to activities benefits our residents greatly”.
The students arrived mid-morning and fanned out across the Cortland main building with their counselors in hand. Their beaming faces and exuberance for their purpose were infectious. They made an extended visit to Cortland’s Physical Therapy gym, helping with various activities and reading to residents. They capped off their visit with a walk around the Cortland campus and educational visit with the Mountaineer Garden Club at the Cortland high tunnel.
“I was very impressed with how well the children read,” explains Krystal Paiva, a licensed occupational therapist with Cortland Acres. “And their choice of reading material was sometimes very advanced. The residents really enjoyed interacting with them and it was inspiring to watch.”
As part of the WVU Extension Service AmeriCorps program, Energy Express is an 8-week summer reading and nutrition program that assists roughly 3,000 children statewide. According to their website, their mission is to help local youth “gain or maintain reading levels during summer months through creative, colorful and captivating uses of art, drama, and vocabulary” and work through local Extension Service offices to build participation.